Being a sustainable college student can seem like a daunting task. There can be a lot of steps, it can be complicated, or the resources on your campus are not obvious. Well, I am here today to put any doubt or fear that you may have to rest and show you that being a sustainable college student is actually really easy! Not only that, but it is also important that the 19.9 million college students in the United States realize that they could have a chance to help the environment by changing their ways. It does not matter if you are living in a tiny dorm and rely solely on the dining hall food, or if you have a house with 3 of your friends, any college student can make an impact by making tiny changes to their daily life.

Sustainability is having more and more of an impact on the way that people are going through their daily life. If you are curious about how sustainable you are, there are several calculators that help you determine how your daily life compares. This one is really useful; however, you do have a lot of metric conversions.

supermarket, Grocery, Market, Trader Joe's, checkout, shopping, Shopping bag
Caroline Ingalls

Here are some easy tips that anyone can follow - no matter where you live!

Sustainability Tip #1:

water bottle, Health, fitness
Carolyne Su

Buy a reusable water bottle. This one is really easy to do but there are still many people that use non-reusable plastic bottles from Deer Park or Aquafina on the daily. If you're looking for a good water bottle, I recommend this CamelBak Eddy because it is affordable and lasts a long time. Or if you're looking for something with more style that will also keep your water cold for longer, I recommend this Hydro Flask. This might be the easiest tip to be a sustainable college student yet. 

Sustainability Tip #2:

Focus on recycling more. My family has always been focused on what is able to be recycled and what is not, and because of that, I have continued to recycle through college. One way that I have made myself get in the habit of recycling is by decorating the bin I use. This may seem like a really silly way to get in the habit of something, but knowing that I personally made something cute makes me want to actually use it. Unsure if something you have can be recycled? This website (or a quick Google search) will help you out with what you can recycle and where!

Sustainability Tip #3:

Lily Iler

Buy a bike. This is a bigger commitment than the others but it is most definitely worth it. Cars emit tons of chemicals that are bad for the environment, and by having a bicycle our carbon footprint can be reduced. It is really easy to get in a car and drive to our class on the other end of campus, but there are more benefits of riding your bike to that class instead. You will probably get there around the same time, do not have to worry about parking, and you get a miniature workout while you're doing it! While bikes can be slightly expensive, there are some that you are able to get for $200 or less at your local bike shop.

Sustainability Tip #4:

apple, Trader Joe's, egg, orange, reusable bags, egg carton, grocery story, Grocery Shopping
Jocelyn Hsu

Be aware about grocery shopping. This is actually multiple tips in one. First, bring reusable bags to the grocery store. Plastic bags take thousands of years to break down and kill thousands of animals a year. By buying one or two reusable bags that will last a couple years, you are helping protect endangered species and the environment.

Second, buy produce with less packaging. By buying groceries that use less cardboard or plastic for packaging, you are cutting down on your overall waste. Third, use digital coupons! A great deal of our daily life is focused on our phones so why not digitize our coupons as well? There are many different apps that have been created for this purpose and they also make it an easier check out!

Sustainability Tip #5:

herb, vegetable, Greenhouse, Garden, Earth, Green, Eco, compost, Plant
Alex Frank

Be more aware of energy usage. It is really easy to leave your room light on while you go to class or when you visit your friend across the hall for a minute (that actually turns into an hour). Being aware of your energy usage also means being aware that leaving the TV on, keeping some of your appliances plugged in, and leaving the fridge open all have an impact on how much energy is wasted within your dorm or apartment

With all of this being said, being a more sustainable college student is difficult. No one is perfect, and I definitely struggle on the daily to recycle more, and I most definitely leave a light or two on by accident. However, our Earth is a gorgeous place, and we only have one of it, so we have to do our best and take care of it while we can!